STATE-RUN Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said 83 schools have expressed their interest to participate in its “study now, pay later” lending program.

In a statement Monday, Finance Secretary and Bank Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III said the LANDBANK board has approved P260 million worth of applications as of July 1 under the bank’s P3-billion Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities.

Of the 83 educational institutions, LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said in the same statement that six schools have already submitted partial requirements to avail of the program while one loan application is pending and will be up for approval by the fourth week of July.

“We continue to pursue opportunities to offer these program to as many eligible schools as possible through various means available,” Ms. Borromeo was quoted as saying in her report to Mr. Dominguez.

She said LANDBANK have been conducting several meetings with 15 other schools to help them assess their qualifications for the program, while 61 schools “have likewise expressed interest” to avail of the credit facility.

The bank launched its P3-billion lending program in May for private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges and universities to help their students study on credit.

The facility refinances or discounts promissory notes issued by the students’ parents.

The loans carry an interest rate of three percent per annum and are payable “based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three years.”

Schools can borrow up to 70% of the value of the promissory notes per semester and subject, subject to a cap based on the institution’s borrowing capacity.

The program is available until June 30, 2021. — Beatrice M. Laforga